Hey all you romantic comedy lovers, here is the movie you need to put on your NetFlix list:
Yeah, I know. Weird title. I can’t even remember why I put it on the NetFlix list. It was a recommendation (given my history of rentals, they though I might like it) and whatever reasons they gave were convincing enough that I put it on the list.
But I gotta say when it showed up in the mail (all these many weeks later) I thought, “Huh. Why did I want this?”
Today, after writing and revisions and canvassing and buying a new microwave, I was ready for a nothing movie. I had White Girls or Tudors, and I decided to give White Girls ten minutes.
For the first five, I was pretty sure I wan’t going to watch the whole thing. By ten minutes, I was hooked. By the last scene, I was laughing so hard that my dog was worried about me. Perfect payoff. It plays with stereotypes on a dozen layering levels. The women are smart. The ideas of romance, of what it means to be black or white, to love somebody, to deal with class issues when you work your way into a new class–all of it is here. Handled not with giant lobster claws, but with a lot of grace.
One of the great pleasures is in watching Lia Johnson, who has a quirky, strange, beautiful face. The other pleasure is the friendly camera angles and the warmth of the direction. It was no surprise to discover it was a woman who directed. A woman produced. But a man–Courtney Lilly, of Arrested Development fame–wrote it, and that’s where it all begins, after all. Good work.
It is a romantic comedy, so it isn’t as if there is a big surprise anywhere, but in a way, there really is–and part of it is in the playing with our expectations.
Twice in the past week, I left my desk and went out to watch a movie at the theaters because I’ve been starved for good romantic something. I gave Nicholas Sparks another chance with Nights at Rodanthe, even after the big betrayal in Message In a Bottle (my sister didn’t go to the movies again with me for a year after that.) And here is what I will say about Sparks: Never. Again. Do you hear me? Not even if Anthony Bourdain plays the lead. Never. Ever. Again. He betrays me every single time and I hate him for that. I don’t get why anyone enjoys the way he tortures his characters. They deserve better. And so do I.
There are so many great romance writers, why does Hollywood focus on this guy???? I just don’t get it.
I also–since it was my sister’s birthday–went to see the completely bizarre BURN AFTER READING. It was slightly funny, sort of ironic, and about as satisfying as puffed rice. Clever, not intelligent. Steeped with ennui. Now why would I want to see this again?
So it was an abolute treat to see something made by women, directed toward the romantic comedy market, that was smart, funny, and wise and completely satisfying. Skip Sparks and the silliness of BURN, and just go rent I’m Through With White Girls.
What have you seen lately that was deeply satisfying?